Dr. Vincent M. Cassone has been named head of the Texas A&M University Department of Biology. Professor Cassone replaces Dr. Terry Thomas, who is stepping down after 11 years as department head to return to full-time teaching and research. "I want to publicly thank Dr. Thomas for 11 years of extraordinary work," said H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science. "We are fortunate that someone of Dr. Cassone's stature has stepped forward to lead the biology department in this time of exciting developments in the life sciences." Cassone, who had served as associate head, was strongly recommended by the department's search committee. He assumed his new duties on Jan. 1. An expert on the biological clocks that govern daily rhythms in organisms ranging from bacteria to people, Cassone is the principal investigator in a multi-investigator $5 million biological-clock research study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The five-year study, in its third year, is investigating differences in the genes that control biological clocks in different organisms. Texas A&M's Department of Biology is a worldwide leader in the study of biological clocks. As department head, Cassone assumes leadership of a department that comprises nearly 1,300 undergraduate biology majors and nearly 100 graduate students. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and biology from Colby College in Waterville, Maine; a master's degree in pharmacology/biobehavioral sciences from the University of Connecticut; and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Oregon. Cassone is a University Faculty Fellow at Texas A&M, a designation that identifies him as one of the university's top faculty members and an emerging national leader in his field.